Ep1: Invasion Fiction, William Le Queux, and Fake News
Who was the mysterious William LeQueux? Can a group of authors save the world?
Ep2: Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and Spiritualism
Why did the creator of Sherlock Holmes fervently believe in ghosts and fairies?
Ep3: Irish Science Fiction
Ireland is not necessarily the first country that springs to mind when you think “science fiction”. Think again.
Ep5: Canals on Mars
For as long as humans have been looking at the night sky, the planet Mars has fascinated us. But in 1877 everything changed.
Ep7: Overpopulation from Malthus to Manila
On 30th October 2011, in the Philippines, A baby girl was born. She was the seven billionth person on earth.
Ep8: A Lawyer, an Author, and a Murderer
The "most horrible crime of the 1920s" brings together a troubled murderer, an inquisitive lawyer, and a world famous author of popular fiction.
Ep9: Imaginary Countries and the Ruritanian Romance
Livonia, Wallaria, Tazbekistan… Writers make up countries all the time. But Ruritania is different.
Ep10: From Robinson Crusoe to Survivor: The Robinsonade
Daniel Defoe’s novel has left a lasting, powerful, complicated, and often dangerous myth in the popular imagination.
Ep11: Cesare Lombroso and The Born Criminal
Cesare Lombroso: the Father of Criminology. His ideas were groundbreaking, controversial, and spectacularly wrong.
Ep12: The Horrifically Complicated History of Zombies
Films, books, games, comics, flash mobs, cocktails, and corporations. Whether we like it or not, the zombies are coming for us all.
Ep13: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James
MR James' tales are, in so many ways, what we think of when we think of the Victorian ghost story: dusty manuscripts, creaking old houses or libraries, menacing ghostly apparitions.
Ep14: Weird Fiction and H.P. Lovecraft
H.P. Lovecraft’s writing is a unsettling world, a weird mythos, in which cosmic entities are terrifyingly revealed. And he has never been more influential.
Ep15: The Scarlet Pimpernel & Baroness Orczy
A Hungarian baroness who created the first masked superhero and became a pioneer of detective fiction.
Ep16: Transhumanism, Immortality, and Fiction
Can humans live forever? The transhumanist future is one in which technology and biology have merged in ways that are in equal part fascinating and terrifying.
Ep17: The 10% Brain Myth
The idea that we use only 10% of our brain capacity is surprisingly widespread. Where does it come from and what does it say about us?
Ep18: What is Utopia?
(Part 1 of 2) The story of three journeys, by three people, in three very different times, each ending in the west of Ireland. Three journeys founded on a search for utopia.
Ep19: Climate Change Fiction
(Part 2 of 2). From the history of utopia to the future of the planet. How can fiction save the world?
Ep20: Domestic Noir
Is our culture perversely preoccupied with the deaths and disappearances of young, pretty, white girls? And why are there so many novels with "girl" in the title?
Ep21: The Invention of Time
Time, as we understand it today, was only really invented in the Victorian era.
Ep22: Book Clubs
Politics, culture, education, commerce. There’s much more to the book club than wine and cheese.
The book is always better than the film. Or so they say. But how exactly does a book become a film anyway?
How do we get from Victorian gentlemen looking at strange fossils, to dinosaur pyjamas for kids?
Ep26: Unwrapping the Egyptian Mummy
In Victorian times you could go to a mummy unwrapping party. Our fascination with mummies has never waned since. But do we need to rethink our problematic engagement with the dead?
Ep28: Pulp Fiction
All pulp magazine science fiction was written by men and aimed at 12-year-old boys...right?
Ep30: Steampunk I
A genre? A movement? A fashion? A lifestyle? Steampunk is many things to many people.
Ep31: Steampunk II
There's the steam. And the punk. The strange Victorian history and the unique fringe communities.
Ep37: The Golden Age of Piracy
Peg legs and eyepatches, pirate accents and the jolly roger. True stories and romanticized myths.
Ep38: Children's Picture Books
Unlike other forms of literature, EVERYONE has an opinion about children's books.
Ep 56: Arthurian Romance
Camelot, Merlin, Excalibur, The Knights of the Round Table. A story that's a thousand years old.
Ep 57: The Sensation Novel
Scandal, blackmail, bigamy, fraud, murder. The literary sensation of the 1860s.